Dickson says Ministers must do more to answer Assembly questions on time

Alliance Chief Whip Stewart Dickson MLA has called on Ministers to ensure that they answer Assembly Questions on time. His comments follow the release of statistics that show the Department of the Environment has the worst record with 68.7% of questions being answered late, with DoJ being the best with only 0.9% late. OFMDFM was the second worst with 57.4%. DEL was third best with 4.8%. The statistics refer to the 2011/12 Assembly session.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “Assembly Questions are a key part of the democratic accountability of Government. It ensures that MLAs can effectively scrutinise Ministers and their Departments.

“Any Department that is not able to efficiently answer questions is therefore preventing Ministers being held to account.

“It has long been an issue of quarrel between MLAs and Departments over the length of time that it has taken to answer some questions with a few questions taking over a year to be answered. So I was not surprised by some of the statistics with the Department of the Environment failing to answer 68.7% of its questions on time. OFMDFM also had an equally poor record with 57.4% of its questions not answered on time.

“I was however happy to see that the two Alliance Ministers had the best and third best record. Stephen Farry’s Department for Employment and Learning answered 95.2% of its questions on time while David Ford’s Justice Department answered 99.1% of its questions on time. I would hope that other Ministers would follow their example and ensure that Assembly Questions are answered on time.”


Department Percentage of Questions not answered on time

OFDMFM 57.4%

DARD 5.0%

DCAL 7.8%

DE 10.5%

DEL 4.8%

DETI 14.0%

DFP 25.0%


DoJ 0.9%

DoE 68.7%

DRD 9.5%

DSD 13.8%

Assembly 18.4%


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